We aren’t exactly saying that you need to become the next Kim Kardashian…but we do think you should be using influencers like her to leverage your brand.
As Dan Kennedy, known as the “Godfather of Direct Marketing,” once said, according to the Huffington Post: “The simple truth is, if you aren’t deliberately, systematically, methodically — or rapidly and dramatically — establishing yourself as a celebrity, at least to your clientele and target market, you’re asleep at the wheel, ignoring what is fueling the entire economy around you, neglecting development of a measurably valuable asset.”
So, what exactly is authority marketing?
In other words, authority marketing is an inexpensive but highly effective tool for the modern business owner to increase their marketing reach without necessarily increasing their paid spend. Take the budding “athleisure” brand Peony & Me as an example. Peony is an offshoot of the Perry Ellis conglomerate that successfully broke out of its parent company’s traditional image within the last year by carefully and narrowly targeting local bloggers and influencers.
The brand has a very low marketing budget that accounts for only a fraction of the Perry Ellis spend, and primarily focuses on Facebook ads and native Instagram ads. Peony is able to do this successfully because they realize that shares, buzz, and exposure from influencers popular within their target audience — which aims to attract affluent, young professional, urban females — is far more valuable than traditional marketing tactics. The Peony brand understands how the “athleisure” client likes to shop, what types of images and influencers they are drawn to and trust. Instead of spending money on mass advertising campaigns, Peony focuses on highly effective, targeted authority marketing efforts. They know a simple post of a popular blogger wearing a pair of Peony leggings can be more effective than a major PPC spend.
Authority marketing, which is sometimes called influencer marketing, turns prominent industry figures into brand ambassadors by encouraging them to interact with your products and organization. Their followers and fan base then become your audience as they take to social media to share their experiences. You instantaneously expand your reach without increasing your spend.
Here’s why it works:
- Authority marketing works because people want to buy from other people (and brands) they know. In our world, where Twitter and Snapchat give “regular people” access to intimate and candid moments from their favorite celebrities, an influencer endorsement can feel like a highly personalized recommendation — from someone who just happens to have hundreds of thousands of followers. This works for every industry, even those without an inherent “celebrity culture,” because even the most seemingly dry industry has rockstar pioneers and thought leaders who command respect and enthusiasm. The key is understanding who those influencers are and what channel they most naturally are already using to communicate with your target audience. Authority marketing is the ultimate referral.
- Secondly, authority marketing organically draws potential clients to your brand rather than pushing them through the door with a promotion or free trial. It’s the age old “pull vs. push” marketing psychology theory. Authority marketing allows you to pre-qualify leads and move customers through the purchase journey quicker and more effectively. When someone self-selects your brand based on an influencer recommendation, they are likely already more engaged with your products than someone who discovered your organization via a traditional media or advertising outlet. This allows you to spend less time at the top of funnel, educating your audience about your brand, and more on closing and loyalty techniques.
- It’s free. With the exception of any products or services you give to influencers to try and promote, this is 100% free marketing (which is our favorite kind). As long as you are choosing your influencers carefully, your break even point should be extremely low, with an exceptional return on investment. This is an effective tool at the local and national level and can start with a simple phone call or email asking a prominent figure within your industry whether he or she would try your product in exchange for an honest review.
To help you understand the type of influencers most suited for your brand, we can tailor a bespoke authority marketing plan for your brand that identifies which channels are most effective and what types of leaders will be most likely to inspire action within your target audience. Authority marketing is a great way to expand small marketing budgets and complement your other advertising efforts to round out the shopping and brand experience and create a unified, holistic marketing experience for your customers. Contact us today to learn more about why authority marketing is the best free investment you’ll ever make.